Paul Richards: Governments to blame for antisocial Vancouver
By Paul Richards
I have been reading with interest the numerous publications regarding the isolated, antisocial mood of Vancouver. Interestingly I meet a lot of singles and couples who bring this subject up regularly. It is quite apparent.
Many who I have talked with have realized how prevalent this mood is particularly after returning to Vancouver from a short or long trip elsewhere in the world. Guess why? The countries and cities they visit or lived in have allowed them to choose their fun. I know of a few who have now arranged to move away from Vancouver as this important social quality-of-life element is amiss.
I’ve lived here all my life and am certain the situation has been perpetuated by the local and provincial government. The feds certainly aren’t helping either.
Bit by bit the once flourishing array of nightlife choices, where people get to cut loose, have a good time, and mingle in positive, free environments has eroded. The “powers that be” have been chipping away at reducing your right to freedom and fun by implementing ridiculous controls and hardship on any kind of nonconforming event or establishment.
Our event and licensing laws are ridiculous and oppressive. Yet the city throws a poorly-thought-out Canucks playoff party and that’s alright. And everyone gets to pay for that whether we like it or not.
Big-crowd public events do not equal success. They are often quite mentally stressful too.
The city has also bombarded neighbourhoods with a wealth of dull, tragic street events in their delusion that they will make Vancouver “fun”. Starting two decades ago I embraced all these events and volunteered at many and supported them, amongst my many efforts to indulge in what Vancouver had to offer.
Now I’m so sick of them, and they keep coming up with new ones. These events are also very costly to operate, disrupt traffic and peace in neighbourhoods, and in the end it’s just another dull, annoying, lame event in Vancouver.
Our right to a variety of things to do day and (especially) at night is crucial to creating a fun-loving, friendly, robust, social environment.
Instead we have been trained to stay home and isolate ourselves as the social options are less than enticing or interesting. Along with the cost of surviving in this highly taxed city, individuals have very little to look forward to regarding freedom and fun. This needs to change and no amount of analysis or government-approved public events are going to make a difference.
If other cities can embrace a full array of social variety and freedom, without the government fearing that people might just have a good time, then we should have that freedom as well.
Paul Richards is a survivor in the Vancouver social wasteland.